What a good news message from the City of Cape Town yesterday, in its weekly Water feedback to its residents and to businesses. Cape Town Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson announced that it is the reduced usage by the agricultural sector that is allowing the positive water supply projection, extending Day Zero by almost a month, from 16 April to 11 May. An article I found on Facebook provides additional good news to the water projection, it not being clear if this has been factored into the latest Day Zero calculation. Punitive water tariffs since 1 February may also slowly be starting to show their effect. Continue reading →
It was fellow writer Llewellyn Lambert who introduced me to the brand new winery Paserene, and who suggested that we stop at it when driving past it outside Franschhoek last week. We were very impressed with the beautiful new tasting room, and the exquisite three wines that we were offered to taste. Continue reading →
I have been an avid supporter of OpenWine, ever since Seth Shezi and I went to pop in to see the wine tasting service and wine shop, which opened on Wale Street in August last year. I enjoyed their weekly wine estate introductions and tastings, which were held for a couple of months. On Tuesday Llewellyn Lambert and I attended a new format wine educational and tasting at OpenWine. Continue reading →
Every Tuesday evening OpenWine on Wale Street offers a wine tasting for roughly fifteen wine lovers, led by a representative of one of the wine estates stocked at the central wine tasting centre in Cape Town. Last night it was Oneiric from Elgin, the tasting led by its new representative Khail van Niekerk. Continue reading →
The 5th Chardonnay Report 90+ score winners event was held at MOMA on Buitengracht Street, a spacious if not noisy gallery filled with works of Continue reading →
South Africa’s most challenging mountain bike race starts rolling today for the 12th time, an eight-day Untamed African Mountain Bike Race challenge for 600 cycle teams covering more than 700 km through Cape Town and Western Cape towns on its route. Its impact on the local economy of R300 million makes it one of the most significant events for our region.
The local and international media coverage is vast, with 1,1 million YouTube views, and 25000 hours of TV coverage in 175 countries. The City of Cape Town supports the ABSA Cape Epic to help position our city as the Events Capital of Africa, and to stimulate job Continue reading →
‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ focused on the Overberg last night, visiting Hermanus and Stanford, as well as Elgin, but this was not mentioned, being described as being just outside Hermanus! It was a whale of an episode highlighting the Southern Right whale visitors, the sustainable apple and pear farming in Elgin, and Marianna’s sustainable restaurant in Stanford. No mention was made however of Hermanus’ produce nor its world-renowned wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley!
Hayden raved about the Southern Right whales, which visit Hermanus’ Walker Bay from July, he said incorrectly (they arrive from the Antarctic from May onwards) until early December. On the Facebook page of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ it is incorrectly claimed that Hermanus is the ‘Whale Watching Capital of the World‘, copywriting nonsense. Hermanus is however known as the offering the best land-based whale watching in the world, which is something different, and Hayden did say words to this effect in the episode!
To add some real adventure to his visit to Hermanus, Forest Adventures’ Clinton Lerm (infamous for wanting to change the name of the village to ‘Lermanus‘ when his family tried to take over the tourism management of the town, to their own Continue reading →
On Tuesday last week I was lucky to be part of a small group of writers invited to attend a special tasting of 21 Ken Forrester Vineyards’ wines, in celebration of their 21st anniversary. The range of wines reflects the multi-faceted personality of owner and winemaker Ken Forrester!
We met at the tasting room, and were welcomed with a glass of Sparklehorse MCC, and oysters and salmon canapés. It was the most beautiful day, and the tasting took place in Ken’s beautiful Cape Dutch manor house, dated 1694 on the gable, with the first vineyards having been planted in 1692. I loved the light yellow walls with a vine leaf mural all along the top part of the walls, the paintings, the vases with flowers, and the ambiance of and views from the Voorkamer.
Previously in the hospitality industry in Johannesburg, Ken and his wife Teresa moved to Stellenbosch in 1993, having bought the property with a house and a vineyard in a derelict state, Ken shared. He and Teresa painstakingly renovated the house, to return it to its former glory, and turned the farm around. Despite experiencing highlights as well as low lights on the property (e.g. the toughest ever year was 2002, with downy mildew a number of times), but Ken said that it was all worth while, and that they live in paradise. They live on a farm but they are almost in town, he added. In answering a question, Ken said that their new venture had to be in Stellenbosch. He had previously worked for Southern Sun when Sol Kerzner was in charge, and then moved into the restaurant industry, buying a share in Gatriles in Johannesburg. His restaurant industry background reflects in the joint ownership with his brother Allan of 96 Winery Road down the road from his wine estate, and he brought Gatriles’ famous duck and cherry pie recipe with him to Stellenbosch, where it has become a favourite too. Their property is 126 ha in size, and he has rented another property of equivalent size, which he and his team manage, to control the quality of his incoming fruit. Continue reading →
* Writing in The Guardian, Fiona Beckett warns against generalising the wine styles of a New World country like South Africa, and not acknowledging that different styles do well in particular regions of our country. So she highlights that Constantia, Darling, and Elgin are synonomous with Sauvignon Blanc; the Hemel-en-Aarde valley with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; Stellenbosch with Bordeaux-style red wines; and the Swartland with Chenin Blanc and Syrah. She further highlights Elgin in particular, and its wines Elgin Ridge 282, Paul Cluver Ferricrete Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, and Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay 2012.
* A South African Attractions Management Conference will be held in Cape Town at the Old Mutual Conference and Exhibition Centre at Kirstenbosch on 4 and 5 June, The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company CEO Sabine Lehmann being the driving force for the Conference. Topics include staffing, Seasonality, online ticket sales, Social Media, crisis management, market research, family-friendliness, and customer requirements. The Conference is aimed at the management of Cape Town and the Winelands’ tourist attractions.
* More than 10000 tourism and travel executives are expected to be attending Indaba, Africa’s major tourism expo, which runs in Durban until tomorrow, according to The New Age. The expo is expected to generate R150 million for Durban, Continue reading →
Today the 11th ABSA Cape Epic gets off the ground, the world’s ‘premier mountain biking challenge’, according to the Weekend Argus. A total of 1200 riders will participate in the tough 718 km race, described on its Twitter Bio as ‘The Untamed African Mountain Bike Race’, covering a unique route each year. It receives extensive local and international media coverage, attracting attention to the rugged beauty of the Winelands.
Cape Epic organiser Kevin Vermaak had the vision to create a cycle challenge from Knysna to Cape Town over eight days, beginning with 200 riders in 2004. Today the race starts at Meerendal wine estate in Durbanville, and the journey takes the riders through Arabella Wines in Robertson, The Oaks in Greyton, Oak Valley wine estate in Elgin, and finishes off on 30 March at Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West. A tent village is set up for the riders at the end of each day.
The race has a total prize value of R1,7 million, and the prize for the fastest woman rider has been increased to R690000. Famous participants today are Formula 1 world champion Alain Prost; former Springbok rugby captain John Smit and former Springboks Continue reading →